Using disguise magic.

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
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Another attempt to start part eleven of a series. This time I'm trying to use close third, so I'd like comments on if I am having enough problems with it to go back to omniscient.



Tanyanika wondered if she should be worried. While she did want to see the village where two of her peers lived, she had never gone because of how vempari might react to seeing a Hylden there. A good science-caste would have quickly dismissed the idea as too dangerous, especially since it came from someone who thought saying ‘what could possibly go wrong’ was an invitation for bad luck. Tanyanika had figured out that she could get that question answered without the superstitious reaction if she skipped to asking Sarah what the contingency plans were. Sarah’s plans tended to lack detail but it seemed like she had gone into improbable scenarios when considering this adventure.

It had taken very little time to construct an illusion that would make Tanyanika look like a human. The greater part of preparation was spent with Sarah criticizing her ability to act human before saying that she should just be a less opinionated version of herself. Sarah then tested the illusion’s ability to hold if she stopped feeding magic into it. The answer was at least a few minutes.

They appeared at a point above the village and Tanyanika had the urge to turn back. A good science-caste would not take such an unnecessary risk. Still, she was here and could at least satisfy a bit of the curiosity that drove her to this madness. She’d heard descriptions but hadn’t been able to imagine Valeholm properly.

The village sprawled along the edges of a valley. Individual roads lined with houses meandered up the sides, much like the river that flowed through the middle. Beyond those houses were stepped fields and sloped pastures where sheep grazed. The wildness was a sharp contrast to the cities that she was used to.

Tanyanika guiltily remembered that while she was tagging along for selfish reasons, Sarah had a purpose to be here. Her mentor had stood quietly as she took in the view instead of immediately heading for their destination. Tanyanika wondered if Sarah was listening to her thoughts, but the vampire gave no indication of what she was thinking. Tanyanika took another moment to consider if she should go back home to wait. It was the safer option, but she wanted to see more. She was also eager to test how much of an illusion’s success depended on her ability to act.

“Are we waiting for something?” Tanyanika asked.

Sarah smiled. “You seemed like you needed a moment.”

As they walked into the village, they passed a few people on the road. Tanyanika nervously bowed her head at the attention she was getting, though it came equally from humans and vempari. She mentally reached out to Sarah for reassurance, and her mentor answered with a wordless sending about how the small village would be curious about a stranger.

When they reached Catullus’ house, Sarah left Tanyanika at the mercy of his children while she spoke to him in the next room. Tanyanika was sensibly wary of vempari she hadn’t met before, but logically she knew that the two older boys would not try to harm her even if they just knew that she was a Hylden. Two of the children were half-vempari, their mother was a cured vampire and they looked much like her except that they had inherited their father’s wings. They openly stared at her.

“Don’t mind them, they’ve only seen one other person from Aschedorf.” It was Ellette, the only full human of the family. After a few minutes of conversation with the girl, Tanyanika began to relax. If Ellette was fooled, maybe pretending to be a different race wasn’t as hard as Sarah had made it out to be.

Just then, Birney came into the room from another part of the house. He blinked a few times at Tanyanika and said, “You look ridiculous.”

Ellette sprang to her feet and began berating Birney for his rudeness while he couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Ellette ended her tirade with “Apologize to Anika.”

Tanyanika could sense confusion from her fellow Guardian, followed by a sense of resignation. “That was very rude of me. I’m sorry, I have no good excuse for my comment. If you’ll excuse me.” He then went through the doorway that Sarah and Catullus had used earlier.

A few minutes later, Catullus came into the room to shoo his children off to school. They scrambled to grab their satchels and coats, and within a minute they were out the door. Birney and Sarah had followed Catullus.

The moment everyone else left, Birney asked, “What were you thinking?”

“I’m sorry for surprising you,” Tanyanika said. “You didn’t deserve to get yelled at like that.”

Birney made a dismissive motion with his hand. “I don’t care about that. Why did you trick them into thinking that you were human?”

“They wouldn’t have hurt me if the illusion failed,” Tanyanika said. “Being able to quietly go places where a Hylden would draw attention might be useful.”

Birney frowned. “Don’t let her turn you into a deceitful person.”

Tanyanika considered if his anger was justified. His father was a politician and considered dishonesty as part of the job. Likewise, Archimedes was his advocate in the Circle and used trickery in the course of his duties. Then there was Sarah; he’d voiced his concerns about her plotting something nefarious despite reassurances that her motivations were good.

“It’s not like I was harming anyone, but I don’t intend to make dishonesty a habit,” Tanyanika said.

Catullus said, “I must be off. Wait here and I’ll send Grigori to you.”

Birney scowled at Sarah. “What do you want with him?”

“Stick around and you’ll find out,” Sarah said. “I don’t want to explain it again until he gets here.”

Birney had to finish getting dressed and prepared for the day, so that left Sarah and Tanyanika to discuss particulars about the illusion and her first experience using one.
 

msstice

200 words a day = 1 novel/year
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Notes on POV: The POV felt fine to me but I did not get a strong sense that we were in Tanyanika's viewpoint. The narration felt a bit detached to me. There are hints in the writing that there is a little bit of danger/suspense in the scene. Perhaps you could intensify that by describing Tanyanika's emotions in more detail.

General points: I was a tiny bit put off by the abrupt introduction of characters. As an example, when I read "When they reached Catullus’ house," I had to stop and go back and check if Catullus had been previously introduced and what else I missed.

I'm not a big fantasy reader, and certainly not a fan of Vampire stories, but I found the development interesting and the revealing of the world interesting, so I think the writing flows well. The only thing, that I noted before, is that an element of "punch" is missing. I felt the writing a bit sterile, but the only thing I can think of is to inject some more emotion from the character, or heighten the descriptions of things we should react to emotionally.

Great job! Keep writing!
 

Swank

and debonair
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A good science-caste would have quickly dismissed the idea as too dangerous, especially since it came from someone who thought saying ‘what could possibly go wrong’ was an invitation for bad luck.
Along the lines @msstice mentioned, the above sentence is very difficult to parse because it pits two hypothetical types of people against each other in a battle of philosophical POVs. The reader is left wondering if "science-caste" refers to a member of that caste or the whole thing; wondering who that someone is in terms of individual or a group. And then the first half and second half imply a cultural conflict, but then maybe are referring to the same science-caste people as having those aligned views on travel.

The more I read it the less handle I have on what is happening. I think this stems from a lack of strong POV. You're substituting generalities that may apply to the character for her specific views by not saying what she actually thinks.


Tanyanika had figured out that she could get that question answered without the superstitious reaction if she skipped to asking Sarah what the contingency plans were. Sarah’s plans tended to lack detail but it seemed like she had gone into improbable scenarios when considering this adventure.
Is this paragraph from Tanyanika's POV or Sarah's? I think Tanyanika, but you treat them the same way in these sentences to the point that Tanya has feelings and Sarah has feelings, instead of Tanya having feelings about Sarah's plan.
 

FarangFarmer

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I agree with what mssstice said. The narration also felt a bit detached to me and I would introduce Sarah a bit better but I get a feeling that she was introduced way before this chapter.

What I did like was that the story made me curious. Great job. Hopefully, I can read more one day
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
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576
Notes on POV: The POV felt fine to me but I did not get a strong sense that we were in Tanyanika's viewpoint. The narration felt a bit detached to me. There are hints in the writing that there is a little bit of danger/suspense in the scene. Perhaps you could intensify that by describing Tanyanika's emotions in more detail.

General points: I was a tiny bit put off by the abrupt introduction of characters. As an example, when I read "When they reached Catullus’ house," I had to stop and go back and check if Catullus had been previously introduced and what else I missed.

I'm not a big fantasy reader, and certainly not a fan of Vampire stories, but I found the development interesting and the revealing of the world interesting, so I think the writing flows well. The only thing, that I noted before, is that an element of "punch" is missing. I felt the writing a bit sterile, but the only thing I can think of is to inject some more emotion from the character, or heighten the descriptions of things we should react to emotionally.

Great job! Keep writing!

Yeah, I'm not into vampire stories either, except for the video game this story is based on... basically it hooked me because of the time-travel and then they're trying to kill Yog-Sothoth.

Catullus has been introduced in other chapters and has had a pretty interesting life for a "normal" person.

Now I'm wondering if I can do emotion. I pretty much had mine figuratively beaten out of me as a child.
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
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Messages
576
Along the lines @msstice mentioned, the above sentence is very difficult to parse because it pits two hypothetical types of people against each other in a battle of philosophical POVs. The reader is left wondering if "science-caste" refers to a member of that caste or the whole thing; wondering who that someone is in terms of individual or a group. And then the first half and second half imply a cultural conflict, but then maybe are referring to the same science-caste people as having those aligned views on travel.

The more I read it the less handle I have on what is happening. I think this stems from a lack of strong POV. You're substituting generalities that may apply to the character for her specific views by not saying what she actually thinks.



Is this paragraph from Tanyanika's POV or Sarah's? I think Tanyanika, but you treat them the same way in these sentences to the point that Tanya has feelings and Sarah has feelings, instead of Tanya having feelings about Sarah's plan.

Yeah, I'm wondering if the problem is that while I've had them butt heads on philosophical differences before, you don't get that in this chapter. Since the entire rest of the thing is online, I don't think going the Babysitter's Club route of reintroducing everyone at the beginning would be the right call. I certainly found it annoying back when I was reading Babysitter's club. Animorphs was first-person, Terry Pratchett could get away with things that lesser writers can't... I've got Feast of the Trickster coming in; I'll try to get ahold of Dragon of the Lost Sea and Gom on Windy Mountain to see some examples on how series are handled.

I'm feeling like I should switch back to omniscient and go close third on a simpler story. Tanyanika could easily have that opinion about Sarah's plans but I keep wanting to chime in without the filter of what other characters feel. I get the feeling if it does finally click for me on how to do close third, there will be a bit of a whiplash because Birney doesn't trust Sarah at all and Tanyanika trusts her as much as she can trust a capricious risk-taker.
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
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I agree with what mssstice said. The narration also felt a bit detached to me and I would introduce Sarah a bit better but I get a feeling that she was introduced way before this chapter.

What I did like was that the story made me curious. Great job. Hopefully, I can read more one day

Here is the horrible first chapter. Yeah, Sarah was introduced at the beginning. Like a lot of the fans that get sucked into that video game, she immediately becomes the main character's pet. :p
 

worldofmutes

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Do you have any idea how that happened? I admit that I might have presented information in a confusing way.
Sure. I think this piece needs more descriptive prose, because as I was reading this I had trouble following why these characters said this or that. It seems to be structured on a vague dialogue. I personally prefer the use of omniscience when I read 3rd-parsec POV, because it offers a quizzical glance at what the characters perceive.

Then there was Sarah; he’d voiced his concerns about her plotting something nefarious despite reassurances that her motivations were good.
Coming from a sort of sententious background, I often look over a lot of material when I read kitschy material. However, I appreciate the use of Tanyanika to voice the impressions of her interlocutors. This gives everything a sort of pejorative vibe- as if we are assuming the internalising of a dramatic young woman.

When they reached Catullus’ house, Sarah left Tanyanika at the mercy of his children while she spoke to him in the next room.
This is where I might have confused myself. Maybe I would suggest something like:
Sarah spake wit ol’ Catallus upon the sybillant echoes of his creaking hallways. In the next room, Tanyanika was at the mercy of his children.
I can’t really clarify the details of a sentence structure, but the order of the original seems erroneous to me. Maybe it’s the syntax, it makes more sense to attach the verb before the predicate.
 

worldofmutes

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Sorry for being so critical, actually, I read it again and it is pretty decent. No, I wouldn’t change a thing, except for the confusion regarding pronouns!
 

Swank

and debonair
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Yeah, I'm wondering if the problem is that while I've had them butt heads on philosophical differences before, you don't get that in this chapter. Since the entire rest of the thing is online, I don't think going the Babysitter's Club route of reintroducing everyone at the beginning would be the right call. I certainly found it annoying back when I was reading Babysitter's club. Animorphs was first-person, Terry Pratchett could get away with things that lesser writers can't... I've got Feast of the Trickster coming in; I'll try to get ahold of Dragon of the Lost Sea and Gom on Windy Mountain to see some examples on how series are handled.

I'm feeling like I should switch back to omniscient and go close third on a simpler story. Tanyanika could easily have that opinion about Sarah's plans but I keep wanting to chime in without the filter of what other characters feel. I get the feeling if it does finally click for me on how to do close third, there will be a bit of a whiplash because Birney doesn't trust Sarah at all and Tanyanika trusts her as much as she can trust a capricious risk-taker.
I think your problem here is entirely the way you've written and ordered the sentences. You aren't writing from any strong POV, but just putting stuff out there without the kind perspective that informs the reader how to look at what is happening.

While you are doing this to talk about who people are, the problem might be understood by thinking about where people are. Imagine a room with two people on either side low curtain. They can see each other's faces, but not below their shoulders. Now depict one doing things with their hands - if you don't include a POV, the read cannot tell if their hand gestures are observable by the other character. That uncertainty makes modeling their reaction, or necessary lack of reaction, impossible. You don't know if the other character is observing but not reacting, or unable to observe.

In the way you are writing, the judgement that goes with character description isn't anchored in a concrete POV, so the reader can't tell if information about Sarah exists in Tanya's judgement or outside it. And because of that Tanya fails to really exist in the scene when Sarah is described. A paragraph should be anchored to a single POV.


That single POV can be that of the omniscient narrator, but that narrator should have a certain perspective judgement as well: That the narrator is observing Tanya right now, and any musings about Sarah are in the context of observing Tanya. Along the lines of "Tanya didn't realize, but Sarah knew all about yada yada." The omniscient narrator is anchoring the information to the context of the character the paragraph is about.
 

Bramandin

Science fiction fantasy
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I think your problem here is entirely the way you've written and ordered the sentences. You aren't writing from any strong POV, but just putting stuff out there without the kind perspective that informs the reader how to look at what is happening.

While you are doing this to talk about who people are, the problem might be understood by thinking about where people are. Imagine a room with two people on either side low curtain. They can see each other's faces, but not below their shoulders. Now depict one doing things with their hands - if you don't include a POV, the read cannot tell if their hand gestures are observable by the other character. That uncertainty makes modeling their reaction, or necessary lack of reaction, impossible. You don't know if the other character is observing but not reacting, or unable to observe.

In the way you are writing, the judgement that goes with character description isn't anchored in a concrete POV, so the reader can't tell if information about Sarah exists in Tanya's judgement or outside it. And because of that Tanya fails to really exist in the scene when Sarah is described. A paragraph should be anchored to a single POV.


That single POV can be that of the omniscient narrator, but that narrator should have a certain perspective judgement as well: That the narrator is observing Tanya right now, and any musings about Sarah are in the context of observing Tanya. Along the lines of "Tanya didn't realize, but Sarah knew all about yada yada." The omniscient narrator is anchoring the information to the context of the character the paragraph is about.

So should I still refrain from saying "Sarah was waiting patiently" even if I switch to omniscient focused on Tanyanika? I don't want Tanyanika to tell the difference between Sarah hiding her thoughts and completely zoning out... Ah, you answered that question by how I could mention that Tanyanika couldn't tell what she was thinking. I think I like that trick.

I think I have two options that aren't mutually exclusive. I can work on a simpler story until I get my problems with POV and emotion shaken out, or I can continue this mess the way I have been just for fun and not worry if it's good. If I do both, the fun story might naturally pick up improvements from me getting better with a story designed for getting better.
 

Swank

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So should I still refrain from saying "Sarah was waiting patiently" even if I switch to omniscient focused on Tanyanika? I don't want Tanyanika to tell the difference between Sarah hiding her thoughts and completely zoning out... Ah, you answered that question by how I could mention that Tanyanika couldn't tell what she was thinking. I think I like that trick.

I think I have two options that aren't mutually exclusive. I can work on a simpler story until I get my problems with POV and emotion shaken out, or I can continue this mess the way I have been just for fun and not worry if it's good. If I do both, the fun story might naturally pick up improvements from me getting better with a story designed for getting better.
I think you can just go through and fix things. The problems I pointed out aren't really caused by your choice of POV to write in, you just aren't writing from a particular vantage. Make your narration have time, location and vantage when it gives readers the facts. That's just as true with omniscient as close.
 

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